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Trump Issues Midnight Statement To Contain Tape Fallout As Ryan Cancels “Unity” Event, Chaffetz Pulls Support

Saturday, October 8, 2016 7:50
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With Friday afternoon providing the American public not one but two “October surprises”, when at almost exactly the same time Wikileaks revealed the bulk of Hillary Clinton’s sensitive speeches to Wall Street while WaPo exposed a tape in which Donald Trump made obscene sexual remarks in 2005 in a private setting (both of which took place shortly after the US formally accused Russia of hacking Democratic servers and subverting the US electoral process) the media has gravitated toward the latter as the source of far greater indignation, and as a result Trump issued a midnight statement, apologizing for his lewd remarks.

The apology came less than 48 hours before Trump and Clinton are scheduled to meet in the second presidential debate, and as Trump found himself under intense pressure from GOP leaders, amid an unprecedented outpouring of anger from conservatives, some of whom are demanding he pull out of the race entirely.

In a rare moment of contrition for the famously unapologetic businessman, facing a media firestorm, his video statement, released at 12:09 a.m. on Saturday, was the first step for Trump if he’s going to turn his campaign around. In it, he vowed to “be a better man tomorrow.”

“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person or pretended to be someone that I’m not,” Trump said. “I’ve said and done things that I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me know these words don’t reflect who I am–I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”

However, while taking responsibility for his words, Trump also dismissed the controversy as a “distraction” and sought to turn the damaging revelations about his own personal life against Clinton.

Trump said he would go on the attack against Clinton for her treatment of the women who have had affairs with Bill Clinton or have accused him of sexual assault; something Republicans have warned him not to do.

“I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.”

According to the Hill, “It was a bizarre and provocative ending to a pressure-packed eight-hour period that may represent the defining moment of the campaign” and came at a time when questions were rising whether the national party is considering cutting Trump loose, although the Republican National Committee denied that speculation on Friday.

While it is unclear if Trump’s statement will hurt his standing among his core constituency, it is likely to further damage Trump’s standing among women and independent voters.

Prior to Trump’s statement, the fallout – especially on the left – had been “volcanic” with Democrats casting Trump’s remarks as “predatory” while republicans were already concerned about Democratic plans to link their candidates to Trump, fearing it could lead to House and Senate defeats.

Those fears were soaring on Friday night.

Making matters worse for Trump, top Republican leaders from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on released furious statements demanding that Trump issue a full apology.

Having recently endorsed him, Trump’s former primary rival, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), turned up heat on the nominee, characterizing his remarks as beyond the pale. Cruz’s top ally on Capitol Hill, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), called on Trump to drop out.??

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) backed out of their first planned joint appearance, a Saturday event in the battleground state of Wisconsin that was meant as a show of unity.  Ryan said he was “sickened” by what he heard from Trump.

“I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan said in a statement released Friday night. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, went on his local news channel to retract his endorsement of Trump.?? “I’m out,” Chaffetz said.??

The congressman made the statement during a live interview with Fox 13 in Salt Lake City. “I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine,” he said. 

“He’s put the party and this country in an awful place … I get the sense this probably isn’t the end of them. There might be more.”

While Chaffetz is the first GOP congressman to pull his endorsement of Trump, he may not be the last.

Some of Trump’s Republican critics, including vulnerable GOP Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), are demanding that Trump leave the ticket and allow running mate Mike Pence to take the lead.?? The furor stirred rampant speculation that Republicans abandon Trump to focus on protecting majorities in the House and Senate.

Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist, sought to put those concerns to bed, denying reports of late-night meetings to replace the nominee.??

At present, Trump has not been abandoned by party leaders, but his situation is precarious.

Meanwhile, as the media makes sure the public’s attention is glued firmly to the unfolding Trump scandal, any and all attention from Hillary’s Wall Street transcripts, in which she admitted to taking “private positions” in one setting, while espousing contradictory positions in public, aka, deception, will slide under the radar.

And while we now anticipate the Sunday debate to devolve to several hours of accusations of predatory, sexual behavior by both candidates in what will likely be the biggest mudslining lowlight in US presidential campaign history, the choice for America, as framed by social media is simple, while questions rise about why this tape emerged only now.


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